Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier made a comment on Wednesday ahead of his team’s matchup with the Tennessee Vols on Saturday that should concern UF fans.
If you watched Florida in their season-opening win against Utah, you likely felt like the Gators were going to be one of the nation’s top teams this season.
Florida, however, hasn’t looked nearly as crisp the last two weeks.
After beating Utah, the Gators lost at home to the Kentucky Wildcats. This past weekend saw Florida barely get past South Florida.
The Gators needed some help from some South Florida miscues to secure the win.
Florida’s subpar performance the last two weeks led to Gators head coach Billy Napier making a concerning comment on the SEC coaches teleconference on Wednesday.
Napier told reporters that he felt like his team took a step back when it comes to tackling against USF.
Napier on SEC conference call, on fundamentals, said he felt #Gators took a step back tackling against USF.— KevinBrockwayGators (@KevinBrockwayG1) September 21, 2022
That’s not what you want to hear from a guy that’s trying to rebuild the program.
You’d expect Florida to take small steps forward each week. Taking a step back just puts the rebuild further behind schedule.
The reason for taking a step back is always the same — it falls on the coaches.
This could mean that Florida’s players aren’t necessarily buying into Napier and his staff — which isn’t a surprise, it takes some time at a new program.
But it’s still not what Florida fans are expecting. Gators fans have high expectations and they won’t be patient with Napier (as evidenced by firing Dan Mullen, who won 10 games in his first season and 11 games in his second season, before winning only 13 games over his final two seasons).
I get the feeling that Florida fans aren’t so sure about Napier. And if the Gators take another step back this week against Tennessee, Florida fans might bring out the pitchforks.
Featured image via Doug Engle / USA TODAY NETWORK